- 2003 – Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure as the governor of California began.
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (born 30 July 1947) is an Austrian-American actor, former bodybuilder, producer, businessman, and former politician who served as the 38th governor of California from 2003 to 2011. As of 2021, he is the most recent Republican governor of California.
Schwarzenegger began lifting weights at the age of 15 and went on to win the Mr. Universe title at age 20, subsequently winning the Mr. Olympia contest seven times; he remains a prominent figure in bodybuilding, and has written many books and articles on it. The Arnold Sports Festival, considered the second-most important bodybuilding event after Mr. Olympia, is named after him.
After retiring from bodybuilding, Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film star. Having previously appeared in the bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron (1977), his breakthrough film was the sword-and-sorcery epic Conan the Barbarian (1982), a box-office hit that resulted in a sequel in 1984. He then appeared as the title character in the critically and commercially successful sci-fi film The Terminator (1984), and subsequently played similar characters in the sequels Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Terminator Genisys (2015), and Terminator: Dark Fate (2019). He also starred in other successful action films such as Commando (1985), The Running Man (1987), Predator (1987), Total Recall (1990), and True Lies (1994), in addition to comedy films such as Twins (1988), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Junior (1994), and Jingle All the Way (1996), and one mixed action/thriller-based comedy, Red Heat (1988). He is the founder of the film production company Oak Productions.
As a Republican candidate, Schwarzenegger was first elected on 07 October 2003, in a special recall election to replace then-Governor Gray Davis. He received 48.6% of the vote, 17 points ahead of Democrat runner-up Cruz Bustamante. He was sworn in on 17 November to serve the remainder of Davis’ term, and was re-elected in the 2006 California gubernatorial election with an increased vote share of 55.9% to serve a full term as governor. In 2011, he reached his term limit as Governor and returned to acting.
Schwarzenegger was nicknamed the “Austrian Oak” in his bodybuilding days, “Arnie” or “Schwarzy” during his acting career, and “The Governator” (a portmanteau of “Governor” and “Terminator”) during his political career. He married Maria Shriver, a niece of President John F. Kennedy, in 1986. They separated in 2011 after he admitted to having fathered a child with their housemaid in 1997, and their divorce was finalised in 2017.